Winter Solstice Self-Reflection Practice
Hello there, Dear Ones.
Happy Winter (or Summer) Solstice (depending on what hemisphere you find yourself in)!
Happiest of Holy-Day Season to you and yours!!
Whether or not you celebrate any holidays during this season, I always find the end of the year to be a powerful time of self-reflection.
Winter Solstice is the longest evening of the year. It's the moment right before our days begin to lengthen and we begin to experience more light in the world.
As someone who grew up on a farm in the Northeast of the United States, my first experience with deep and reverent awe was observing the natural world. I loved witnessing the natural cycles and seasons that ebbed and flowed into one another.
We humans are also very cyclical beings.
We ebb and flow. Wax and wane. Expand and contract.
Experience light and dark. Highs and lows. Ins and outs. Ups and downs.
This is the natural cycle of the seasons and chapters of life.
On this darkest night, I find it helpful to lean into some compassionate curiosity and turn the mirror inward to explore our own inner patterns of thoughts, feelings, sensations, beliefs, and behaviors.
Through this art and practice of self-reflection, we can observe the areas in our life where we may be experiencing growth, expansion, and transformation. We can also observe the areas where we may be feeling stuck, repeating patterns of the past that are no longer serving us in our present moment reality.
Please know, that this practice is not a place for judgment. It's a place of compassionate curiosity. Where we can look at ourselves with kind and loving eyes - honoring our process of being a messy and complicated human is this messy and complicated world.
If - or rather, when - judgment comes up for you, I invite you to notice it, acknowledge it, and ask it to step aside so you can move through the layers of insight that may arise for you when you are in a safe and judgmental free space.
Here is a brief Winter Solstice Self-Reflection Ritual.
May it serve you and support you on your path of holistic healing.
First, find a place that feels safe and supportive for you. Perhaps in front of an alter, or if you don't have an alter, in a place that feels best for you. Create an environment that feels most comfortable for you. Maybe it would feel good to be in nature, have a photo of loved ones, light a candle, incense, or have an aromatherapy diffuser. If you like music, it might feel helpful to have some relaxing and inspiring music.
I love having music and themed playlists in my life. Here's one that I use daily that you're welcome to use. And here is one that I'm using specifically for this practice. And if you prefer no lyrics, here's one for that too!
I invite you to turn off all distractions - TV, social media, anything that can pull your attention away from this practice.
Once you have your comfortable and supportive space, feel free to follow along with these different practices for your body, mind, heart, and spirit.
All you'll really need for this practice / ritual is a journal, a writing utensil, an open heart, and compassionately curious mind.
SPIRIT - find your breath. that sacred life force that sustains us all. take (at least) three deep breaths. inhale fully, exhale completely, letting out a deep and audible "sigh" on your exhale. notice what you experience after these breaths. do your shoulders release away from your ears? does your mind relax? does tension around your eyebrows soften?
BODY - take a few moments to come into your body and allow any gentle organic movement to arise. if you're seated, this could be - gentle head and neck rolls, torso rolls, or soft twists of your upper body. if you're lying down, this could be - gently hugging your knees into your chest, and rocking from one side to the other. the idea here is to connect to your somatic experience and gently move your body and breathe. there's no right or wrong way to move your body. trust your body's innate wisdom.
HEART - here are a few journal prompts to guide your self-reflection practice. remember to ask judgment to step aside. let your honest answers arise from deep within your heart. you're welcome to set a timer for each prompt if that would be helpful.
- Reflecting on this past year, what were some of your biggest personal struggles?
- What emotions come up when you reflect on these personal struggles?
- What thoughts come up when you reflect on these personal struggles?
- What stories about yourself, others, and the world come up when you reflect on these personal struggles?
- What body sensations come up when you reflect on these personal struggles?
- What parts of you (specific ages, emotions) need most support as you reflect on these personal struggles? What would that support look like for those parts?
- Are there any patterns or themes that you're noticing?
- Are there any patterns (in thoughts, feelings, beliefs, or behaviors) that you are noticing that are no longer serving you?
- If you were to ask those patterns that aren't serving you to step aside, what (thoughts, feelings, beliefs, or behaviors) would you like to invite instead?
MIND - after you've reflected on this journal prompts, take a few minutes in relative stillness. silently repeating to yourself the following words - "let go". inhale "let". exhale "go". letting go of anything that is no longer serving you at this time in your life.
After you've completed this practice, take a moment to offer yourself some gratitude for taking the time in compassionate self-reflection.
May this practice and sacred self-reflection ritual support you on your wholehearted journey.
What stood out to you most about this practice? Feel free to reach out and let me know! I'd love to hear how this landed for you!
Wishing you and yours bright blessings this Holy-Day Season.